Eyeliner is second only to blusher when it comes to cosmetics that can leave you open to ridicule. My own attempts to create the “smoky black eye” so loved by beauty editors have often resulted in something better described as the “scary black eye”: sort of Camden Goth meets bamboo-shoot-munching mammal.
But recently, I made a discovery that is every bit as exciting as last year’s epiphany concerning purple mascara, which – for those who don’t already know – really enhances blue eyes. My new revelation is this: navy eyeliner; and specifically Estée Lauder’s Pure Intense Kajal Eyeliner in Blackened Sapphire (£16, currently exclusive to Harrods).
Navy eyeliner is softer and – Duchess of Cambridge, please take note – infinitely more flattering than a hard black. It makes the whites of your eyes look whiter and, according to beauty insiders, it works no matter what colour your eyes.
The clever thing about Blackened Sapphire – which is part of a range of six densely pigmented eyeliners inspired by the kajal or kohl used in ancient India – is that it is almost-but-not-quite black, creating the smoky-eyed look in a more subtle, elegant way. (Other almost-black shades in the range include Blackened Cocoa, Blackened Plum and Blackened Olive.)
I apply it as close as possible to the upper lashes and in a smudged line below, so that the effect is fairly dramatic – but not scarily so. Navy eyeliner: who knew?